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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 August, 2004, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Voters' views: Rhonda Buie
In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the row over negative campaign ads and John Kerry's war record.

Linda Alston
Linda Alston:
Madison, Wisconsin

Neil Sherman
Neil Sherman:
Germantown, Tenn.

Jorge Caspary
Jorge Caspary:
Tallahassee, Florida
Chase Erwin
Chase Erwin:
Austin, Texas

Jim Hill
Jim Hill:
Sudbury, Mass.

Rhonda Buie
Rhonda Buie:
San Diego, California

Rhonda Buie

Name: Rhonda Buie
Age: 23
Lives: San Diego, California
Works: Student
Current voting intention: Democrat
In 10 words or less:
"Wife, student, amateur artist, imperfect and independent observer"
I consider Kerry's performance in Vietnam to be a non-issue in relation to his political career.

I've yet to hear the Republican Party say anything in particular to back up the Swift Boat Veterans ad, while the Kerry campaign seems to be a little more outspoken in debunking it.

I feel that the Bush campaign is being very careful not to say anything that could make it look like it condones mudslinging.

Political ads do little to sway my opinion.

If they could be used more responsibly, I would think differently. In an ideal election, voters would be fully informed about the individuals they vote for.

Our panel: Where they live

Unfortunately, it seems that some candidates wish elections to be won by the person with the least amount of public suspicion flung on his and his party's collective doorstep through the use of tools such as political ads.

Many of these ads take advantage of past events that have no bearing on the target's present position.

They also use many other tactics, none of which make me think any better of the party they are attempting to put in a better light.

Perhaps all campaigns have become quite dirty. This is nothing new. The means by which our leaders are chosen are commonly laced with this sort of expected - and even acceptable - manipulation.

Send us your comments on Rhonda's views using the form below.

Your comments:

We must not forget that it was Kerry himself who made his military exploits the centrepiece of his campaign. Now that the strategy has backfired, he has only himself to blame.
Mark, AZ, USA

If someone is going to brag about a war record, then they'd best make sure there is really something to brag about. Also, Kerry himself is the one who has been waving the banner of his Vietnam service as an issue. How something that happened over 30 years ago proves he's fit for office is beyond me. However, if Kerry wants to make it an issue, he has to expect there will be two sides to it.
Jeff, Cincinnati, OH,USA

Well spoken and thought provoking. While many claim the Swift Vets are paid by Bush, wouldn't he be condoning it if he did pay them? Bush forever!
Danielle Motley, Atlanta, USA

I continue to be surprised that responsible, reflective voters like Rhonda are not more concerned about the use of outright lies such as those promoted by the Swift Boat Veterans. For anyone doing a little bit of reading in the press or on the internet it is clear that these people are contradicting the personal accounts of people who were there, official military records, and often their own earlier statements.
Angus McCamant, Aloha, Oregon, USA



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